What's the best way to notate cross-hand brackets?

I’m trying to recreate this:

Cross staff looks cumbersome because of the alternating hand figure, so I settled on this for my notation.

How do I best do this in Dorico? And the fingering?


Why does it need the brackets at all?

As a keyboard player, I wouldn’t think twice about playing everything on the bottom staff with the left hand. The two beats where you want to move some notes to the right hand are exactly the same figuration as the next two beats, where you don’t.

Playing those notes with the right hand is harder than with the left, IMO.

I think the fingering ought to go next to the notes it applies to. The “42” above the top staff looks like either there is an extra finger notation, or a note is missing, IMO. (And the 42 seems weird anyway - the obvious right hand fingering would be 21, where the fingers already are from the previous notes.)

(Personally I would also reduce the amount of fingering by at least at a factor of 10, and probably to zero. This doesn’t look like music for beginners who need fingering marks for every note).

I noticed this in the OP’s other thread on fingering but wasn’t going to say anything. That is a lot of fingering. As a pianist, I would really find it distracting. Even for my students, if they are playing at that level, they don’t need that much fingering written out.

You can insert these brackets using Shift+X text items with the ‘Avoids collisions’ property deactivated. The brackets themselves can be copied and pasted from here. Set the character style to ‘Music text’ to show the brackets in the correct font, i.e. Bravura Text.

Well, for all we know the OP is preparing a study edition for a student. (Although the 42 thing is indeed odd.)

I hope these brackets will be incorporated in future.

If you use them a lot you can make custom symbols.

Thanks Daniel.

That’s feedback I need. I’m used to my audience being local pianists who request fingerings. Thanks, Rob.

I’m with Debussy on piano fingering. (Preface to the Etudes - can’t find an English translation right now, but the TL;DR is “don’t.”)

Very good. This would have applied to the OP’s other post about fingerings not lining up.

I didn’t comment on the first thread, since the question was about how to use Dorico not how to engrave piano music. Editors as (in)famous as Godowsky spent their time fingering every note of Beethoven, for example, so there is a precedent for this sort of thing.

But this thread specifically asked about fingering.

I’m always vexed whenever I’m handed an edition with copious fingerings. I ignore almost all of them. Then, when I want to mark in one of my own, it’s lost in a sea of markings that are just in my way. I only add fingerings to my compositions if there is a very specific reason and even then it’s only at those particular points and not throughout.

To the OP, the other thing you can try if you still want to add them is only the first time when there’s a pattern, and sometimes a single fingering can dictate where the hand begins a gesture and the rest of the fingerings sort themselves out naturally due to the shape of the hand. (Eg, only placing a 4 on the top note of a descending figure rather than marking each note.)

Is this still the best way? I’ve checked 3.5 and can’t find an alternative.

If cross-hand brackets are still not fully supported, would this be something that could be added to the fingering options? It is notation I come across in piano scores that I have.

(It is funny to search for something and find that I asked the question over a year ago the last time I needed it…)


Henry, have you used the new line tool? That’s your solution.

I assume this is how it’s done. I’ve used this some, but I’m no pro with the line tool.

Dan is correct; this is your ticket.

Perfect! I think I was selecting only one note and not getting the desired automatic placement.